11 January 2013

Why the U.S. Can't Abandon Afghanistan

These five principles should guide the U.S.-Afghan relationship after 2014. 


JANUARY 10, 2013 

With Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Washington this week, he brings with him plenty of good news, as well as a long list of grievances. A skilled politician, he will try to project an optimistic picture of Afghanistan's ongoing security transition, Pakistani cooperation with peace negotiations, the Taliban's willingness to embracing politics over terror, and preparations for the 2014 presidential election. Most Afghans and regional actors, however, do not share his optimism -- but nor do they share Washington's growing defeatism and exhaustion. 

Afghanistan is changing rapidly for the better. It is more developed, prosperous, democratic, and safe than at any other time in modern history. But this progress is also vulnerable to reversal. Uncertainty about the U.S. exit in 2014 has enveloped numerous constituencies -- both inside and outside of Afghanistan -- and spawned a series of hedging strategies that threaten to upend the transition. 

Declarations about the need for Afghans to "stand on their own two feet" aside, the United States remains indispensible both to Afghanistan's successful transition and the stability and prosperity of the surrounding region. Moreover, it was Washington's earlier shortsighted policies -- first in supporting violent extremist groups, and then in abandoning the country -- which contributed to the destruction of the Afghan state and the immense suffering of the Afghan people. But the West's moral and legal responsibility to Afghanistan extends back even farther, to the corrosive Cold War rivalries of the 20th century and the so-called Great Game a century earlier. 

Today, Afghanistan still stands at the global epicenter of terrorism in all its manifestations -- from ethno-terrorism and narco-terrorism to state-sponsored terrorism and even possible nuclear terrorism. But it is also situated at the epicenter of enormous economic opportunity. The regions of South and Central Asia, western China, and eastern Iran remain among the least connected and least prosperous regions of the world -- despite possessing immense natural and human resources. Stability in Afghanistan is the key to unlocking the region's strategic potential. 

Talking to the Taliban

With Obama and Karzai meeting in Washington, and peace negotiations back on the table in Afghanistan, here's what to watch out for when sitting down with Islamic fundamentalists. 


It was the summer of 2001, and I had a front-row seat to negotiations designed to convince the Taliban to build a more inclusive Afghanistan. The fundamentalist Islamist movement, which was in power and controlled 90 percent of the country, had agreed to mediation with segments of the armed opposition, which was still denying the movement total control over Afghanistan. Midlevel Taliban envoys walked across the front line to meet with Karim Khalili, a representative of the country's Hazara minority and today Afghanistan's vice president. 

This was Hindu Kush mountain warfare. The Taliban and the opposition were camped in the administrative centers of adjoining districts. But it took a day's hike to cross the mountain ridge in between. The white flag of the Taliban fluttered over their last check post, the green of the opposition over theirs. As a United Nations humanitarian coordinator, I required the cooperation of authorities on both sides to be able to move relief goods. In the process, I got to observe the sometimes subtle ways in which Afghans conducted their own wartime diplomacy -- the way that commanders deliberately kept a discreet channel of communication open to the other side as a sort of insurance policy. 

The Taliban came to the talks prepared. They calculated they might be able to persuade the main Hazara party to break from the rest of the anti-Taliban armed opposition alliance -- divide and rule. The Taliban's discreet diplomacy was thus aimed at co-opting the Hazaras to their side. They started by proposing prisoner releases as a confidence-building measure, arranging for Hazara representatives to visit the jails in Kabul and Kandahar to compile lists of prisoners to be released as part of a putative deal. To run the negotiations, the Taliban chose a former mujahideen commander from Maidan Shahr, a town that sits astride one of the routes from Kabul into the Hazara country. He was a veteran of the war against the Soviets, a figure well-known to the Hazara leadership who could appeal to the Hazaras as permanent neighbors rather than temporary enemies. 

A Few Good Men

And how the U.S. military lost them. 

JANUARY 10, 2013 

In the late-90s, Tim Kane was an Air Force vet turned software entrepreneur, and he was surprised to find himself surrounded in the start-up business community of Southern California by fellow veterans who exchanged stories of their times in the service like secret handshakes. The more he thought about it, though, the more it made sense. The military, at its best, is a talent incubator designed to produce leaders -- and a leader in the military has transferrable skills to be a leader in the private sector. Since then, Kane has gotten a doctorate in economics and come back with the statistics to back up his hunch. His numbers also show a problem for the U.S. military: The best and brightest in the services aren't playing the military's game anymore. They're leaving, and in droves, over frustrations with a personnel system that is tantamount to "coercion," in Kane's terms. Here are some examples: 

Matt Kapinos 

Kapinos graduated from West Point at the top of his class shortly before September 11, 2001. He deployed to Afghanistan, then Iraq, where he chafed at his superior officers' distaste for counterinsurgency strategy. He left the military in 2006 at the rank of captain and returned to school -- law school at Georgetown University. He's not alone. The military's retention crisis is in sharp relief at the captain level. Five years after graduation, only 58 percent of West Point's class of 2002 were still on active duty, despite being on a fast-track for success. As of 2007, the military could barely meet its requirements for promoting captains to majors, so many were leaving. Kapinos, for his part, became disillusioned. "I was a true believer at West Point," he told an interviewer for a profile in Washington Monthly. "I thought I was going to be a four-star general." Kapinos graduated from Georgetown's law program in 2010 and now works for an international law office in Virginia. 

An Army of None

Why the Pentagon is failing to keep its best and brightest. 


As the war in Iraq wore into its most corrosive years, a problem began to emerge -- the military, and especially the U.S. Army, was losing its young officers. Editorials were published and examples cited, and by early 2011, the crisis had been recognized at the military's highest levels. But the young captains and lieutenants whose departures at the height of the Iraq war caused this soul-searching at the Pentagon are only half of the story, the superficial half; these are young warriors in harm's way with young spouses and toddlers back home. The military's retention crisis cuts deeper into the heart of the Army. The more complicated and more important half of the story is about the colonels. 

Getting a great first assignment after commissioning is essential in climbing the professional military ladder, especially given the nature of Army promotions. Soldiers need to check exactly the right boxes -- get the right jobs, go to the right professional schools on time, earn "distinguished graduate" from those schools -- to prove themselves. And getting into the infantry, armor, or other combat-arms branches is considered important. If one is "going infantry," the ideal path is to get light but not too light. Specialized units such as the Navy SEALs or the Army's Delta Force might be too light, whereas mechanized infantry might be a shade too heavy. 

Study War Much More

By Milan Vego 

As Roman military science essayist Flavius Vegetius Renatus said ca. AD 378, qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum : whoever desires peace should prepare for war. 

The U.S. Navy was established and primarily exists to win the nation’s wars at sea. Together with other services, it also contributes to maintaining peace and deterring war. The Navy conducts diverse operations short of war ranging from support of foreign policy and military/theater strategy, combating transnational terrorism and piracy, providing humanitarian assistance/disaster relief, and freedom of navigation and overflight to support of insurgencies and counterinsurgencies. But the primary focus should be on preparing to fight a strong potential opponent(s) at sea. Obviously, a navy that is capable of defeating an enemy in a high-intensity conventional confrontation could, with the proper doctrine and training, successfully accomplish diverse tasks in peacetime and operations short of war. But the opposite is not true. 

After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the 1991 dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, many in the United States and the West in general came to believe the future belonged to western-style democracy. Hence, the likelihood of a showdown involving U.S. and other major powers seemed very remote. Yet instead of relying on assumptions that could be partially or completely wrong, political and military leaders should focus on the military and naval capabilities of potential enemies. 

The widespread belief that a future war with a major power was unlikely was one among several reasons for which the U.S. Navy lost its focus on warfighting after the collapse of the Soviet bloc. Over the past decade, the Navy became more interested in conducting operations short of war. The only notable exception to this trend is the current effort to create a new Joint Operational Access Concept (formerly called the Air-Sea Battle Concept). 

Another problem is that during the 1990s, the Navy uncritically accepted the idea that conducting war is not much different from carrying out business. One of the side effects of this is the service’s emphasis on management rather than true leadership. Military effectiveness is being sacrificed on the altar of efficiency. The Navy’s readiness and ability to fight and win at sea depends on the quality and skills of its top commanders and their staffs—yet it does not send many promising officers to attend the resident program at Newport, Rhode Island’s, Naval War College. 

In the Time of Cholera

How the U.N. created an epidemic -- then covered it up. 
The horror was in the stomach, an empty, draining pain. All the way up the highway, Rosemond Lorimé had felt it running out of him. It was like the river running out of him, getting worse with every turn around the mountains. 

Rosemond lived in a thatch-and-mud house in Meille, a small village on Haiti's central plateau, built along a little river of the same name. There wasn't much to do there, among the bean plants and banana trees, for a man of 21. You could swim or take a bath in the river. You could help the older folks raise pigs and turkeys, or plant cassava. Rosemond and his cousin would sell rum and kleren moonshine to the soldiers at the U.N. base, and introduce them to the neighborhood girls in exchange for a few dollars. But that was about it. Even the earthquake had been boring in Meille. The ground had just groaned and rumbled and stopped. 

The sickness came nine months after. Rosemond's father fell ill first. A low, hard pain formed in his gut and radiated all over his body. Then the diarrhea began, then vomiting, torrential like a fall storm. Soon everyone in the house was sick: Rosemond, his four brothers and sisters, his mother. The illness then moved into the neighboring houses. The family gathered up its money and sent Rosemond's father to the hospital in the nearby town of Mirebalais. But it soon became clear that Rosemond's sickness was the worst. Pain gripped his gut, and heat rose in his head and cut his intestines as if he'd eaten a stick of thorns. His stomach became a rejecting vessel. The water he drank would come back up or go straight out. Rice did the same. Even the garlic tea and cotton leaf that the women in the village gave him to settle his stomach ended up vomited or run out onto the ground. The diarrhea kept flowing; Rosemond became thirstier and thirstier. Neighbors whispered that it must be a spell. 

The family looked for money to send Rosemond to the hospital too, but it took days to find enough. The day after his father returned home, weary but alive, Rosemond's brothers put the slumping young man on the back of a motorcycle taxi to go to Mirebalais. 

Under an arid sky, arms carried Rosemond into the little hospital with green-painted walls. A voice cried out in the room. Struggling for air, Rosemond closed his drying eyes and never opened them again. It was Sunday, Oct. 17, 2010. 

Snow in the Desert

From Turkey to Jordan, heavy overnight snowfall Thursday jammed transportation, closed businesses, and made life more difficult for thousands in refugee camps around the Middle East. The wacky weather provided a surreal backdrop for everything from snowball fights to clashes between Palestinian youths and Israeli soldiers. 

JANUARY 10, 2013 

A man walks near palm trees as snow falls in Jerusalem's Old City. 

Residents flock to a snow-covered mountain road in Saudi Arabia's northern region of Tabuk to picnic in the snow. 

Crux of Asia: China, India, and the Emerging Global Order

Ashley J. Tellis, Sean Mirski

The rise of China and India as major world powers promises to test the established global order in the coming decades. As the two powers grow, they are bound to change the current international system—with profound implications for themselves, the United States, and the world. And whether they agree on the changes to be made, especially when it comes to their relationship with the West, will influence the system’s future character. A close examination of Chinese and Indian perspectives on the fundamentals of the emerging international order reveals that Sino-Indian differences on many issues of both bilateral and global significance are stark. 

Key Points

China and India’s sustained economic growth fuels their increasing geopolitical and military influence. 

Despite their developmental similarities, China and India’s bilateral strategic rivalry means that they have competing priorities on most major global issues. 

Sino-Indian differences are considerable on issues relating to the nonproliferation system, Asian security, regional stability in Southern Asia, and security in the maritime commons, space, and cyberspace. The two rising powers broadly agree on matters relating to the international economic system, energy security, and the environment. 

Because of its ongoing shift to the Asia-Pacific and status as the only global superpower, the United States must manage a complex set of relationships with China and India, which are at times working at cross-purposes. 

Chinese and Indian Positions on International Issues

Global Order: China and India tend to agree on the importance of state sovereignty and the need to reform global governance institutions to reflect the new balance of power. They also share a strong commitment to the open economic order that has allowed both powers to flourish in the global marketplace. But the two diverge on many details of the international system, such as the future viability of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the role of state-owned enterprises in fostering globalization. 

Regional Security: Both China and India want a stable Asia-Pacific that will allow them to sustain their economic prosperity, but they perceive threats very differently and have divergent priorities. Importantly, India seeks a resolute American presence in the region to hedge against possible Chinese excesses, while China sees the United States as significantly complicating its pursuit of its regional goals and worries about American containment attempts. 

Net use survey underscores stereotype

Published: January 11, 2013
Ramya Kannan 

Here is an affirmation of one more Indian fact/stereotype — English communication is an urban phenomenon and that local languages are more popular in rural areas. 

According to the Vernacular Report, 2012, of the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), released on Wednesday, a higher percentage of rural people are aware of regional language content than urban users.

In India, 45 million users access content in the local language. Around 64 per cent of rural Internet users (24.3 million active users out of a total 38 million) use the Internet in the local language. But only 25 per cent of the total 84 million urban users browse the Net in regional languages (20.9 million). 

By and large, the applications that are most used by regional language users include emails, search engines and news content, text chat, matrimonial services and online banking services. In rural areas, the report shows a bias in favour of sites offering government services, land records and private initiatives such as eChoupal, which provides aggregated information of interest to farmers and facilitates sale of farm produce.

Last March, Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology Sachin Pilot, speaking at a conference on mobile web initiatives, said the biggest challenge that would have to be addressed was the non-availability of online content in regional languages. According to the IAMAI report, Internet non-users have mentioned that lack of content in local language as one of the major reasons, along with lack of infrastructure.

With a low working knowledge of English in India (according to the National Readership Survey, 2006, only 18.2% of the population is English-literate; 34.2% in urban and 11.1% in rural areas), Internet penetration in India is only 12%, since content is primarily available in English. 

However, the report says a number of websites have started offering translation and transliteration services that only require input of text in the phonetic equivalent of the local language in English. “The reading problem was resolved long ago, at least for Tamil,” says N. Chokkan, one of the first-generation users of Tamil on the Internet. “With the introduction of Unicode to regulate the way Tamil is being used on the Net, things have changed dramatically. Today, there are about 15 applications for the PC and five or six mobile apps purely for typing. User-generated regional media content, meanwhile, is growing on social media sites.”

About That Overpopulation Problem

Research suggests we may actually face a declining world population in the coming years. 

Jan. 9, 2013

From 1960 to 2009, India’s fertility rate dropped from six live births per woman to 2.5 

Photo by Deshakalyan Chowdhury/AFP/Getty Images. 

The world’s seemingly relentless march toward overpopulation achieved a notable milestone in 2012: Somewhere on the planet, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, the 7 billionth living person came into existence

Lucky No. 7,000,000,000 probably celebrated his or her birthday sometime in March and added to a population that’s already stressing the planet’s limited supplies of food, energy, and clean water. Should this trend continue, as the Los Angeles Times noted in a five-part series marking the occasion, by midcentury, “living conditions are likely to be bleak for much of humanity.” 

A somewhat more arcane milestone, meanwhile, generated no media coverage at all: It took humankind 13 years to add its 7 billionth. That’s longer than the 12 years it took to add the 6 billionth—the first time in human history that interval had grown. (The 2 billionth, 3 billionth, 4 billionth, and 5 billionth took 123, 33, 14, and 13 years, respectively.) In other words, the rate of global population growth has slowed. And it’s expected to keep slowing. Indeed, according to experts’ best estimates, the total population of Earth will stop growing within the lifespan of people alive today. 

And then it will fall. 

This is a counterintuitive notion in the United States, where we’ve heard often and loudly that world population growth is a perilous and perhaps unavoidable threat to our future as a species. But population decline is a very familiar concept in the rest of the developed world, where fertility has long since fallen far below the 2.1 live births per woman required to maintain population equilibrium. In Germany, the birthrate has sunk to just 1.36, worse even than its low-fertility neighbors Spain (1.48) and Italy (1.4). The way things are going, Western Europe as a whole will most likely shrink from 460 million to just 350 million by the end of the century. That’s not so bad compared with Russia and China, each of whose populations could fall by half. As you may not be surprised to learn, the Germans have coined a polysyllabic word for this quandary: Schrumpf-Gessellschaft, or “shrinking society.” 

103 killed, over 270 injured in Pakistan bomb attacks

Published: January 10, 2013

AP An injured Pakistani child being brought to a hospital in Quetta, Pakistan on Thursday. A bomb targeting paramilitary soldiers killed scores of people in southwest Pakistan, officials said. 

AP A Pakistani paramilitary soldier and local residents gather at the site of bomb blast in Quetta on Thursday. 

A total of 103 people were killed and over 270 injured in six bomb attacks in the restive Pakistani provinces of Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa on Thursday, marking a sharp spurt in terrorist violence ahead of the country’s next general election. 

Terrorists targeted a security forces vehicle and a Shia-majority neighbourhood in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan, and a religious congregation in the Swat Valley of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, an erstwhile stronghold of the Taliban. 

Sixty-nine people were killed and over 160 injured in the worst attacks, which occurred late in the evening at Alamdar Road and Airport Road in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan. 

A suicide bomber blew himself up inside a snooker club on Alamdar Road, which has two Shia prayer halls and a sizeable population of Shia Hazaras. 

As media teams and security forces gathered in the area, three more bombs went off within minutes of each other, media reports said.Cameraman Imran Sheikh and reporter Saif-ur-Rehman of Samaa TV channel, two police officers and several rescue workers were among the dead. 

Several reporters, cameramen and technicians of news channels were injured. 

The first attack of the day also occurred in Quetta, where a powerful bomb went off under a security forces vehicle at the busy Bacha Khan Chowk this afternoon. 

Twelve people were killed and over 40 others injured. 

The blast was heard from several kilometres away. The roundabout, located near several markets, was crowded at the time of the explosion. Officials at a nearby hospital said two children and a Frontier Corps personnel were among the dead. Several children and security personnel were wounded. 

Police said the blast was caused by a timed explosive device planted under the security forces vehicle. An estimated 20 kg of explosives was used in the attack.The blast caused a large crater and destroyed about 10 cars. 

Peace overtures to Pakistan: India reaps a bitter harvest

Brahma Chellaney 
The Economic Times, January 10, 2013 

Words like “brutal,” “heinous” and “savage” aptly describe the way a Pakistani army unit raided Indian territory and chopped two soldiers, taking away one severed head as a “trophy.” The Indian outrage, however, must not blind us to the unpalatable truth: India is reaping what it sowed. New Delhi is staring at the bitter harvest of a decade-long policy seeking to appease a recalcitrant neighbour with unilateral concessions and gestures. 

The “peace-at-any-price diplomacy” was started by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in an abrupt policy U-turn in 2003, and has been pursued with greater vigour by his successor, Manmohan Singh — interrupted only by the Pakistan-orchestrated Mumbai terrorist rampage of 2008. Regrettably, no policy lessons were drawn by New Delhi from the Mumbai terrorist siege, which occurred because India presented itself as weak and a tempting target. 

The latest episode — one of the worst acts of Pakistani savagery in peacetime ever — has followed a dozen Pakistani violations of the line of control in the past one month. The question to ask is what has prompted the Pakistani military establishment to adopt an overtly aggressive posture vis-à-vis India of late. 

The Pakistani military is drawing encouragement from two factors. The first factor is that the US-Pakistan relationship, after being on the boil for more than a year, has gradually returned to normalcy. That the US-Pakistan rift has healed is apparent from Washington’s resumption of large-scale military aid and its coddling of the Pakistan army and ISI. US aid to Pakistan is now at a historic high — at more than 3 billion dollars a year. 

Towards a progressive interpretation of Islam

Published: January 11, 2013
 A. Faizur Rahman 

Photo: The Hindu IN COMPANIONSHIP: In the Koranic conception, marriage is the bonding of two minds which cannot be achieved simultaneously with more than one woman. 

The Delhi court judge who rejected bail to a maulvi in a forcible marriage case was right in saying that there is no blanket sanction for polygamy in the Koran 

In a significant judgment pronounced last month (in State vs. Nadeem Khan case) Delhi’s Additional Sessions Judge Dr. Kamini Lau called upon religious heads, priests and maulvis “to ensure that the religious texts are progressively interpreted and to confirm that it is only those beneficial practices which are in the best interest of all sections of humanity which are encouraged and observed.” She was dismissing the anticipatory bail application of a Maulvi accused of forcibly marrying a young Muslim girl to an already married man who raped her soon after the Nikah. The judge’s remarks, which form part of her eloquent 14-page order, were in response to the maulvi’s defence that there was nothing illegal about his performing the Nikah because the Shariah permitted a Muslim man to have four wives at a time. 

The importance of Dr. Lau’s order lies in her scholarly refutation of the medieval belief that polygyny enjoys blanket sanction in Islam. Citing Muslim scriptures the judge avers that “polygamy is neither mandatory nor encouraged but merely permitted. The Koran’s conditional endorsement of polygamy stresses that self-interest or sexual desire should not be the reason for entering into a polygamous marriage” because the original purpose of allowing this practice was “to protect the social and financial standing of the widows and orphans in their community.” 
Historical context 

Dr. Lau is absolutely right in her analysis. Indeed, except conditional polygyny, the Koran frowns upon all types of non-monogamous relationships within in and outside marriage. Significantly, polygyny itself finds mention just once (4:3) in the entire Koran. Yet Muslim men have abused it over centuries without appreciating the spirit behind its exceptional sanction, which is clearly contextualised in the historical conditions of the time when a large number of women were widowed and children orphaned as Muslims suffered heavy casualties in defending the nascent Islamic community in Medina. Even a simple reading of verses 4: 2, 3 and 127 will show that it was under such circumstances that the Koran allowed conditional polygyny to protect orphans and their mothers from an exploitative society. 

India’s Pakistan Doctrine is Flawed

January 10, 2013 by Team SAI
Filed under Analysis, foreign policy

However much India desires, it can not wish away the geographical tyranny backed by an unnatural border with Pakistan. It shall continue to be a thorn in its side unless of course the world breaks this “epicentre of terror” to fix it.

It is common knowledge that the rabid Jihadi Military Complex(JMC) in Pakistan controls real power. To retain and sustain this power it has no option but to keep India engaged through Hybrid War. The introduction of nuclear arsenal in the region has given JMC the confidence to use “Terror backed by a Nuclear Gun” as its main tool against a politically disoriented India which has repeatedly failed to find creditable counter to this strategy of JMC. Take that out and the JMC loses its relevance in Pakistan’s political discourse. So while Kayani spoke of terror as Pakistan military’s number one challenge, he was quick to bring Kashmir to focus with the Mendhar barbarity to appease the JMC that India remains very high on his agenda – infact the raison d etre of Pakistan military. It is this essential element which prohibits any meaningful hope for peace between India and Pakistan. Ofcourse there is a farce of a democratic goverment which the JMC under Kayani uses effectively as a front to present a straight face in diplomacy. 

The pattern thus is clear. Every attempt to stabilise relations since Pakistan’s dismemberment in 1971 has met with a vigorous and dastardly act like Kargil, the Parliament attack, Mumbai and now Mendhar. This is unlikely to change. 

Should then Indian political class hope to engage the defunct Pakistan political establishment and hope for a positive outcome? Brahma Chellaney presents this dichotomy well when he poses this question: 

  • India and Pakistan are locked by a “shared destiny”, and thus “our objective must be a permanent peace with Pakistan, where we are bound together by a shared future and a common prosperity”. How can a plural, inclusive and democratic India share a common destiny with a theocratic, militarised, fundamentalist and failing Pakistan? 

  • A sane voice would suggest yes – that dialogue is the only way forward and that war is not an option. Black and white. The hawks liken India to Israel and recommend quid pro quo political and military actions to change the behaviour of JMC. Both these options operating in White and black domains lack substance because of a weak political and strategic culture in India. Talks thus become a farce designed to destract attention and Indian political will (or the lack of it) negates stern proactive actions to keep JMC in check. 

Under these circumstances India repeatedly comes second when dealing with Pakistan which is thriving on the sunshine provided by the enlightened concept of “Terror backed by a Nuclear Gun” to keep India tied in knots. It has overstepped its brief repeatedly from Kargil to Mendhar and has tested Indian political will to work to its advantage.It now knows that India is unable or unwilling to raise the cost of the proxy or hybrid war. It has thus far succeeded every time in getting away with moral ascendancy against a confused and passive Indian weakness. This Indian weakness in a pattern of peace talks – incidents- rhetoric and back to talks suits the JMC perfectly as it keeps it relevant and in charge of Pakistan’s foreign and security policies. 

Pakistan’s Next Generation of Political Leaders

January 11, 2013 
By Arif Rafiq 

A youth bulge is being accompanied by the emergence of young politicians from old political families. Can they gain power? 

In late December, on the fifth anniversary of his mother’s assassination and with his family’s mausoleum in view, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari stood before a massive crowd at Garhi Khuda Bakhsh, a village in Sindh province, and was anointed as the last great hope for Pakistan’s most prominent political dynasty. 

Bilawal’s father, Asif Ali Zardari — Pakistan’s president and the co-chairperson of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) —informed the audience that his son’s political training has just begun. Bilawal, his father said, will not only be learning politics from his elders, but he will also be learning about Pakistan from the masses. Having lived most of his life outside of Pakistan, and, until recently, having been unable to speak any of Pakistan’s major languages — Bilawal has much to learn. That Bilawal has been chairman of the PPP for five years is incidental. The twenty-four-year-old was a mere teenager when his mother, Benazir, was assassinated in late 2007. He was brought into the limelight merely to ensure that no one else took his place. 

Bilawal soon disappeared. With his father running the party, Bilawal was largely out of public view until he graduated from Oxford in 2010. An audience member at an Oxford University town hall discussion for Pakistanis complained that Bilawal made no effort to engage the Pakistani student populace, though he would one day be leading their country. Bilawal limited his public engagements to PPP loyalists, giving English-language speeches packed with Urdu slogans about martyrdom and sacrifice. In a 2009 speech that was widely mocked, Bilawal screamed that he and his party members will give their blood, heads, and lives in their supposed struggle for Pakistan’s masses. 

Solutions to U.S. Security Threats in 2013

January 10, 2013

Dr. Lamont Colucci is an associate professor of politics at Ripon College, recent Fulbright Scholar to the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, and author of The National Security Doctrines of the American Presidency: How they Shape our Present and Future, among other books. You can find out more at lamontcolucci.com

Last week this column addressed the threats to the Republic for 2013 with a promise to address solutions to those threats this week. This week's column should not be read in a vacuum as the detailed aspects of threats were illustrated in last week's commentary. Based on a two volume book I recently authored on national security doctrines, the solutions to these threats must be tackled from both a historical and contemporary lens; these solutions must fundamentally serve American grand strategy. 

1. Al Qaeda and terrorism. A national security doctrine that does not attempt to gain victory at a strategic level, well beyond the tactics of counterterrorism, is doomed to failure. The strategy must be one that uses the full power of the U.S. military, intelligence services, covert operations, and the soft power of democracy-building, economic aid, and a massive effort to counter the hate-driven propaganda. The debate over whether enemy combatants should be a designation should also end, as these terrorists are neither criminals nor prisoners of war and must be dealt with using military tribunals. The United States should push the United Nations to adopt this policy as part of international law, codifying international norms that clearly state that terrorists and pirates do not receive the treatments of prisoners of war or criminals. Further, the United States should have a declared policy that any nation linked to providing any aspect of weapons of mass destruction to a terrorist group will be treated as an act of war. In the end, any future president must treat this as a real war, and not a conflict or a law enforcement exercise. 

2. Iraq and Afghanistan. Iraq, whose geostrategic value is immeasurable, can and must be one of the linchpins in any future U.S. Middle East policy. There must be a permanent and lasting commitment to the Iraqi people that demonstrates that the United States will not tolerate Sunni terrorists, Shiite militias, or the machinations of Iran. Obama's strategy in Afghanistan was predicated on greater European involvement, but the Europeans are extremely suspicious of this and have already followed the leader in announcing troop withdrawals in Afghanistan. The American surge was followed by the declaration of withdrawal. The United States, in classic Nixonian fashion, is ready to abandon another ally and let another region succumb to terror in order to satisfy a lack of geostrategic and historical understanding. The long-term strategic goal of the United States must be to destroy the Taliban, establish law and order, and bring stability to Afghanistan. This will be the only way to ensure that American credibility is respected, and the al Qaeda-Taliban axis cannot use Afghanistan as a terrorist haven. 

Rethinking Failed States

8 January 2013 

“Happy New Year from Mexico, speaking of failed states.” So I wrote to a friend at the State Department regarding an upcoming conference in Libya. I had been teased by several people already for vacationing in Mexico, supposedly the world’s most dangerous country by some amorphous criteria, as a “break” from covering Libya and, before that, Afghanistan. But my friend, who of course must remain anonymous, wrote back, “Happy New Year from Washington, DC, that semi-failed state.” 

Of course, the narrowly averted “fiscal cliff” was on his mind. Generally, a “failed state” is one that has lost control of its territory and borders, lacks a clear governing authority, doesn’t provide services to its citizens, and doesn’t participate in the international community. Mexico obviously has problems with the control criterion. But in a Foreign Policy piece last June, Elliot Ross attacked the magazine’s notorious annual Failed State Index and suggested only somewhat facetiously that the criteria were so vague and subjective that the US could be listed on the grounds of the deeply corrupt political system that makes legislative progress virtually impossible, inhibits the establishment of truly pluralistic multiparty politics, places the bulk of power in the hands of unaccountable corporations, and offers only the very rich the chance to pursue successful political careers. 

And this was before President Obama’s reelection and the “fiscal cliff.” 

Indeed, only Germany, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and Finland were in the “most stable” category in the magazine’s June 2012 index; the US was in a far less select “stable” category. 

Mexico did not make the 2012 list, though Colombia (with a much better economy and less drug violence) did. I did have some second thoughts about spending nine days in Mexico while walking around Mexico City—doing more walking than I would have if it had been safe to hail a cab on the street—and noticing that even the traffic cops wore bullet-proof vests. (A South American journalist friend said he doubted they were good quality, since he’d seen Mexican policemen who were killed by bullets in the chest.) But in most of Libya there are no cops and in many places no one directing traffic or doing anything about lawbreakers. 

Both Mexico and Libya look like failed states from certain angles, especially from the perspective of the Potomac. But the view from inside is often different, and the reasons are telling. 

Chinese Beidou Satnav System Fully Operational

By Bradley Perrett perrett@aviationweek.com
January 08, 2013 

China has declared its Beidou satellite navigation system fully operational, although the service remains limited to most of the Asia-Pacific region.The operating office says it is “accelerating” construction of the system, but repeats its longstanding commitment to achieve global coverage by about 2020; no earlier possibility is mentioned. 

“At present, the in-orbit satellites and ground systems are under stable operation, various user terminals have passed test and assessment, and system service performances can fulfill designed parameters and requirements,” the Beidou Navigation Satellite System office says. Initial operational service began a year ago. 

The system appears to have been rebranded. For many years it had an English name, Compass, to help with international marketing. But now only the established Chinese name, Beidou, meaning Big Dipper, is being used — along with the abbreviation BDS, which is probably intended to correspond to the U.S. GPS. The name is pronounced like the two English words “bay” and “doe.” 

Beidou offers horizontal and vertical positioning precision of 10 meters (33 ft.), velocity within 0.2 meters per second, timing precision of 50 nanosec., and a two-way, high-precision timing and short-message communications service. 

The complete system around 2020 is intended to have 35 satellites. The intended five in geostationary orbit and five in inclined geostationary orbit are already aloft, with only four of the intended 27 medium-orbit satellites. 

The geostationary satellites are 58.75 deg., 80 deg, 110.5 deg., 140 deg. and 160 deg. east of Greenwich. The inclined geostationary and medium-orbit satellites are in orbits 55 deg. from the equator.

The Next Oil?: Rare Earth Metals

January 10, 2013 
By Elliot Brennan 

Rare earth metals are quickly becoming the next important strategic resource. For many countries in Asia, the stakes are big. 
Rare earth metals (REM) are increasingly becoming a critical strategic resource. The 17 elements can be found in most high-tech gadgets, from advanced military technology to mobile phones. China currently holds claim to over 90 percent of the world’s production. As global demand increases, Beijing’s export reductions in recent years have forced high-tech firms to relocate to China and forced other governments to pour money into their exploration and production. An emergent India is among those concerned about China’s control of rare earths. In the past 12 months, the geopolitics of rare earths has become evident. REMs are becoming a strategic resource over which the two emerging giants are competing in Asia. Indeed, one might say rare earths are fast becoming “the next oil.” 

The name, rare earth metal, is a misnomer. The metals are, in fact, far more abundant than many precious minerals. Yet their dispersion means they are rarely found in economically viable quantities. The similarity of chemical properties of the 17 REMs, demonstrated by their close proximity on the periodic table, makes them very difficult to separate. Their extraction is capital- and skill- intensive. End uses for REMs are varied but recent figures cited by the U.S. Geological Survey noted that in the U.S. the end use was predominantly for battery alloys, ceramics and magnets, sectors that are continuing to grow to cater for high-tech industry. The extent to which REM’s are used in defense technology is such that without their production modern warfare—fighter jets, drones, and most computer-controlled equipment—would have to undertake a lengthy process of redevelopment. A sovereign monopoly of such a resource is therefore a serious concern for any nation. 

Is China Enough?

BUENOS AIRES ‒ For many countries in Latin America, demand from China has been essential to maintaining high GDP growth rates over the last decade. But will Chinese demand for commodities be enough to sustain high prices for the region’s exports in the coming years?Illustration by Paul Lachine

During the last two decades, four factors combined to generate a sharp increase in world demand for commodities: rapid growth in global GDP, increasing urbanization in developing countries, a rise in population at a rate of 800 million people per decade, and a significant decrease in poverty. With the exception of global population growth, China has been the most dynamic country in all of these respects.

For example, the number of Chinese living in poverty fell by 650 million over the last two decades. Moreover, China accounts for half of the global increase of 1.5 billion people earning between $2-13 a day in the past 20 years.

But should we expect what happened from 1990 to 2010 to continue in the coming decades? To answer that question, several variables must be taken into account: demand growth, technological change, investment, and the commitment to confront global warming, among others. Bearing in mind such complexity, let’s consider only some determinants of demand that are linked to increased income.

Two factors appear to be the most important: China’s growth rate in the coming years, and whether its growth will be sufficient to maintain high levels of global demand for commodities. Even if it is, the impact is likely to be different for agricultural exporters (the members of Mercosur and some Central American countries) than for exporters of minerals and oil (Mexico and other South American countries).

Moreover, although fiscal and monetary stimulus in China can compensate in the short term for weaker export demand, this will not be enough to sustain demand growth without economic “normalization” in the developed countries. As we know, this is far from assured in Europe; nor is it evident in the United States and Japan – that is, countries that account for roughly 45% of Chinese exports.

In the medium and longer term, the expected and hoped-for increase in China’s domestic consumption should be the most dynamic element of demand, with export growth continuing to slacken and investment remaining – except for brief periods – below 50% of GDP. This is not guaranteed, however, as progress in establishing social insurance – crucial to increasing consumption – has been relatively slow, while monetary transfers to families (such as those that have been implemented in Brazil, Mexico, and elsewhere in Latin America) might not be feasible, given the logic of China’s political system.

Even if China sustains rapid growth, it is unlikely to repeat in the next 20 years the extraordinary decrease in poverty witnessed in recent decades. The reason is simple: of the 400 million people living on two dollars a day in 2008, it is possible that “only” 300 million remain. Moreover, the rate of China’s population growth is close to zero, and will turn negative before 2025. As a result, fewer people will cross the poverty line, although more will see their daily earnings grow from two dollars to five, and from five dollars to ten.

That trend will have a differentiated effect on demand for cereals and soy relative to other products that are more closely linked to higher incomes, such as foods containing higher-quality protein, metals, and oil. In terms of the latter products, China might continue to be decisive for global demand growth.

This is why, in order to maintain food prices in the medium term, other countries or regions will need to start reducing poverty at rates similar to that of China in the recent past. Bearing in mind the differences in their productive structures, sub-Saharan Africa and India appear to be the best candidates, given that they accounted for 1.4 billion of the world’s poor in 2008 and 60% of global population growth.

Will India and sub-Saharan Africa – which grew at annual rates of 7.3% and 5%, respectively, during the last decade – assume the role that China has played in recent years? It seems unlikely, but without them it is difficult to foresee high prices for commodities – and food, in particular – over the next two decades. In that case, there will be less time left for the countries that have not taken advantage of the current bonanza to lay the foundations of sustainable growth. 

Japan's Nuclear Muddle

January 10, 2013 

Japan’s December election put an end to the brief rule of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). It also handed an overwhelming victory and lower house majority to Japan’s traditional political leaders, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). However, still lacking a majority in the upper house, the LDP’s ability to push through legislation is dependent on its alliance with New Komeito, a party with significant policy differences on some of the immediate questions facing the LDP. Between now and the next scheduled elections for Japan’s upper house in July 2013, the LDP’s first priority will be posturing for an upper house majority in the next election, not taking hard stands on controversial policy issues. One such issue concerns the country’s heated debate on nuclear energy. 

Since the meltdowns at Fukushima, triggered by the earthquake and tsunamis of March 2011, several fundamental nuclear-policy questions await answers—answers that could have significant consequences for the communities hosting Japan’s nuclear facilities, broader Japanese society and, to some extent, the global nuclear order. Beyond Japan’s two operating reactors, how many more of Japan’s fifty viable reactors will be allowed to restart? Will Japan continue its current effort to close the nuclear fuel cycle? What is the future for the industry’s fuel-cycle facilities in Aomori Prefecture and the nuclear materials currently stored there and at reactor sites around the country? 

When last heard from on nuclear policy, the DPJ waffled, sending thoroughly confused signals. The Noda administration appeared poised to formalize a commitment to phasing out nuclear power by 2030, but ultimately backed away, stating the target as aspirational rather than binding. The administration’s energy ministry then promptly contradicted this target by authorizing resumption of reactor construction at the Oma plant in Aomori Prefecture, a plant that will thence be operational long after 2030. Clearly under political pressure, the Noda administration was stuck between strong nuclear opposition and a reluctance to fully walk away from Japan’s reactors—this hesitation has been blamed, somewhat dubiously, on the U.S. government, while evidence suggests that it is the Japanese business community that applied the pressure. 

According to opinion surveys, nuclear energy continues to be deeply unpopular in Japan, with opposition remaining well above 70 percent. Protests continue against reactivation of nuclear power plants, with sizable crowds assembling every Friday in front of the prime minister’s residence. Antinuclear sentiment remains palpable across the country on t-shirts, Facebook pages, and magazine covers. 

While the cyber war tail wags the national security dog, software security offers a different path to cyber peace

O Richard Power 

This is the fourth in my series of interviews with C-level executives who also happen to be thought leaders in cyber security and privacy. Remember? I enjoy pointing out that "C-level executive" and "thought leader" are not synonyms. Previously, I interviewed: 

This is the fourth in my series of interviews with C-level executives who also happen to be thought leaders in cyber security and privacy. Remember? I enjoy pointing out that "C-level executive" and "thought leader" are not synonyms. Previously, I interviewed: 

Jeremiah Grossman, founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of White Security (What's real and what's not in web security), 

Michelle Dennedy, Chief Privacy Office (CPO) for McAfee (The perilous path to a new privacy), 

and Christopher Burgess, Chief Security Officer for Atigeo (How to meet the challenges of 21st century security and privacy). 

In this installment, I engage Gary McGraw, CTO for Citigal, and the principle creator and driver of the Building Security In Maturity Model (BSIMM). McGraw is one of those I respect most in this field, and we had a delightful and wide-ranging discussion, stretching from the insecurity of electronic voting machines to the dangers of weak or conflicted governance, from the release of BSIMM4 to the follies of cyber war mongering. But in this piece, I am just going to focus on BSIMM4 and cyber war, because the two themes actually dovetail (no pun intended) in a meaningful and timely way. 

Richard Power: Let's start with your perspective on how BSIMM has evolved, what is particularly striking in this year's iteration, what had surprised you so far, and what hasn't surprised you so far? 

Gary McGraw: In the last four years, BSIMM has wildly exceeded my expectations. The thought, in the beginning, was to build a data-driven model. Go out and gather data, and build the model to describe the data ... BSIMM4 has ten times more data than the first BSIMM iteration we released. We have done ninety-nine measurements. Some firms have been measured multiple times, over different numbers of years, and some firms have had sub-organizations underneath the mother firm measured separately and ruled up into one measurement ... If you add up the number of all the firms there are fifty-one. 

"The second [common technique] is something that will be near and dear to the heart of operational computer security people, and that is, running a software security disaster simulation drill. " 

Navy’s Cyber Commander addresses NPS Information Dominance Corps Students

Vice Adm. Michael S. Rogers, commander of the U.S. Navy Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet, fields a question during an all-hands call with Naval Postgraduate School Information Dominance Corps students Jan. 8. Rogers answered several questions on the roles of the IDC in today’s cyber-dependent operational environment, and the important role education plays in achieving the nation’s cyber defense goals. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Leonardo Carrillo) 

MONTEREY, Calif. - Vice Adm. Michael S. Rogers, Commander of the U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet (FCC/C10F), spent an afternoon addressing a contingent of Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) Information Dominance Corps (IDC) students during an all hands call on the university campus, Jan. 8. 

Rogers spoke about the important role the IDC has in today’s cyber-dependent world, and the important role education and training play in achieving the nation’s cyber defense goals. He said that FCC/C10F has made significant progress in promoting cyber situational awareness and integrating cyberspace operations into traditional maritime operations.

“To preserve the Navy’s cyber warfighting advantage,” said Rogers, “we must continue to develop an elite workforce that is recruited, trained and educated to better understand the maritime environment, employ the latest technology advances, and deliver cyber warfighting capability anywhere around the world.”

Rogers recognized that there were still substantial challenges to overcome due to the inherent characteristics and rapid technological change of the field. He noted that the cyber community was making significant progress in effecting changes and improvements to the field, but it was up to every member in the IDC to take steps to continue with these goals. Rogers emphasized the importance of training and educating the next generation of cyber warriors to tackle the challenges of the future.